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Piano Works founder launches Grand Outdoor Cafe campaign

Operators across the UK and the world are desperate to get back to doing what they do best – caring for people and serving top quality food and drinks to their loyal customers.

Alan Lorrimer, founder of live music venues The Piano Works, is calling on operators nationwide to support the #UKGrandOutdoorCafe´, a campaign to safely restart the UK hospitality industry by transforming public spaces and streets into fabulous al fresco dining spaces whilst adhering to physical distancing.

The campaign proposes that seating on pavements, squares and open spaces outside of restaurants and bars be permitted and is calling on the government to issue a directive to grant local authorities a temporary deregulation to allow tables and chairs outside existing hospitality businesses.

The proposal requests that operators would be allowed the flexibility to extend their current licensing conditions and trading hours with no additional fees charged and zoning regulations until September in order for selected spaces to become designated pedestrianized zones. The public can then enjoy physically distanced meals and drinks with members of their household safely.

Fundraising for food and drink vouchers is a key component to the campaign so that our heroes working on the frontline can use them at the Grand Outdoor Cafe´ venues.
We are also asking that strolling musicians be allowed to entertain outside guests so that the huge community of unemployed musicians have a way of recouping some of their lost earnings.

In Boris Johnson’s exit strategy, the public are now allowed to spend as much time outdoors as they’d like whilst remaining vigilant of the social distancing parameters. Furthermore, there is substantial scientific evidence that Covid-19 transmits far less in open-air spaces.

The Government has announced that July is a best-case scenario for restaurants, cafes and bars to reopen albeit with physical distancing, but many operators will struggle to survive with reduced seating, and others may not be able to survive at all.

The Grand Outdoor Cafe´ is an excellent opportunity to revive the UK’s beloved hospitality industry and bring back some normalcy into our everyday lives. The hugely responsible British public deserve a massive thank you.

Alan Lorrimer, founder of The Piano Works, said, “We have two hitherto successful 400 capacity late night, non–stop, audience requested, live music venues The Piano Works in Farringdon and the West End, and at present we are totally dependent on the Govt. for our survival. They’ve done an amazing job of furloughing our 130 staff, removing rates for a year, delaying VAT payments, and guaranteeing a business loan.

'Our landlords and suppliers have been hugely supportive as have our bankers Santander. Without their faith, help and goodwill we would not be here ready to re-open.
But how do we start paying them back if we can’t physically distance our guests, how do we say thank you to our frontline heroes and to the public who have behaved so responsibly.

'This initiative aims to safely get people back onto our high streets and into our town and city centres. With the Government’s help we can break down the barriers of nervousness and anxiety slowly. Dining and drinking outside whilst enjoying the great British Summer is an exciting and safe place to start on our journey to recovery.”